5 Facts About Pepsi Super Bowl Ad Star Melanie Amaro

Melanie Amaro Pepsi Super Bowl ad Elton JohnIs it just me, or were there not that many amazing Super Bowl commercials yesterday? The clear frontrunner seemed to be the Pepsi ad starring Elton John as the tyrannical king judging whether court jesters could receive the sweet elixir in a blue can.

“But who was the upstart who challenges the king’s rule?” you might ask. For anyone who doesn’t watch reality singing competitions (like me), she’s a stranger. But her face has already been all over the television: It’s Melanie Amaro, the 19-year-old who won The X Factor in a surprise upset after she got eliminated and Simon Cowell brought her back.

In the commercial, King Elton keeps rejecting hopefuls who try and wow him with their singing ability in the hopes of scoring some Pepsi. I admit, when I first heard him intone what could become his new catchphrase, “No Pepsi for you,” I thought it was Seinfeld‘s Soup Nazi popping in for some extra cash.

Then up comes Melanie, looking like she came straight out of Your Highness or some equally silly medieval movie. Her rendition of Aretha Franklin‘s “Respect” was a bit dance-party for me, but it’s pretty damn effective. Here’s the commercial in full:

And here are the five facts we’ve compiled about Melanie.

1. Although she was born in Florida, she spent the first years of her life in the Virgin Islands because her parents couldn’t afford to take care of her. She says that the pain of only seeing her parents on school breaks and holidays was part of what pushed her to find an outlet through singing.

2. Her success is especially inspiring because there are so many reasons she “shouldn’t” have made it. We all know about Simon Cowell famously tracking her down at her home after he sent her home in the judges’ rounds because he realized what a mistake he’d made. But before then, Melanie was dealt a blow when she tried to audition at her local Fox affiliate for a “fast pass” to get on the show. They didn’t deem her worthy of going on, so she had to audition again, this time standing in line with thousands of people. Obviously she’s happy she did!

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